What is this bedding made out of?

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Jawramik

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I have no idea. It doesn't look like it says what it's made from on the package. You could try contacting the manufacturer and asking them. I think that's really the only way to know. I don't know if it's safe for chins and/or gerbils. I usually try to avoid using any wood products unless I know what type of wood it is. There's just too many unsafe woods out there that are sold as "safe".

I've griped about this before, but I REALLY wish that pet products were required to list their materials the way human products are. It would make life so much easier.
 

Amethyst

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As said your best bet would be to contact the company and ask them. Unfortunately most times "soft wood" is a blend of whatever kind of soft wood they have at the time, so it can be a mix of pine, but also be spruce and/or fir, which are not considered safe for chinchillas. Even pine shavings are starting to no longer be recommended by some to be used for small animals since it still contains some toxic oils, which is what gives it the nice "pine fresh" smell.

The current recommended shavings to use is aspen.
 

Wonderz

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Hm that's very concerning... I'll definitely have to look into that.
I think we used to buy aspen but switched (this was a couple years back). Might have to switch back depending on what the company says.
Speaking of which, I bought my gerbils aspen snake bedding but don't plan on giving it to my chins.

I as well wish companies would list ingredients and materials, its so frustrating!
 

Jawramik

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As far as I know, aspen snake bedding is fine for chins. It's exactly the same wood as what's sold as small mammal aspen bedding, it's just shred more finely. I've used aspen snake bedding in my chin's litterbox in a pinch (we also have snakes and use it for them, so I usually have some around). I found it a little messier and harder to pick out of the fleece liners, just because the pieces are smaller, but aside from that it was fine.
 

Wonderz

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Update!
So I found the website and I think they have two different types? One says screened shavings while the other doesn’t. I use the one that’s not screened.
The two types of woods they brought up were white wood (tulip poplar) and doug-fir. Here’s the link: Wood Shavings – Bitterroot Valley Forest Products

Also good to know that snake bedding is fine. Thanks!
 

Jawramik

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I know that poplar is chew-safe, so I would think the shavings are safe as bedding....? Though someone please correct me if I'm wrong. That said, I have no idea if tulip poplar is the same as poplar, or if it's safe.

Is douglas fir the same as pine? I mean, I know that douglas fir is a type of pine tree, I just don't know if that's the type of pine we're talking about when we say "kiln-dried pine."

.... I'm realising just how much I don't know about wood, haha.
 

Wonderz

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Same! I am definitely not a wood expert!

I'm pretty sure the douglas fir is safe. I found an older post about someone who wanted to make shelves out of it for their chins. Just have to make sure its kiln-dried which the company says it is, so that's good!

I was googling tulip poplar though and it says a tulip polar tree is not the same as a poplar tree... Now I'm even more confused haha
 

Amethyst

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Tulip poplar is safe, it's also called yellow poplar, but it's not actually poplar, it's in the magnolia family oddly enough. I'm pretty sure it's technically a hard wood too, not a soft wood :unsure: . Wood sold as "whitewood" is normally either pine/spruce/fir or tulip poplar, so that is very confusing.

Although some people feel Douglas fir is ok for shelves so long as it's kiln dried and as has no bark on it, it's debatable and some people disagree. Since it contains I think more of the toxic oils then pine does, shavings of it would be considered even more unsafe then pine though (more surface area for oils to escape if the wood gets wet). It's up to you though, personally I like to err on the side of caution, especially if there is a safer option (aspen doesn't contain toxic oils).
 

Amethyst

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Is douglas fir the same as pine? I mean, I know that douglas fir is a type of pine tree, I just don't know if that's the type of pine we're talking about when we say "kiln-dried pine."
Douglas fir is not actually a pine, or even a fir tree, lol, it's considered a "false hemlock". It's in the pine family though, along with true pines, spruce, fir, cedar, larch, and hemlocks. Trees are confusing. :ROFLMAO:
 

Wonderz

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Huh that is quite interesting 🤨 Like you said its very confusing but good to know! Anyways... so basically softwood shavings are very similar to kiln dried pine bedding. I suppose it's just a bit different but overall it still contains toxic oils.

I mean my boys seem fine right now. I have them in a 3 story critter nation and the bottom is the only one that has the shavings. Aspen is also more expensive than a big bag of the softwood shavings. At least the all living things and the snake bedding are. If I do decide to switch I'd love to know some other inexpensive brands. Thanks! :)
 

Jawramik

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Douglas fir is not actually a pine, or even a fir tree, lol, it's considered a "false hemlock". It's in the pine family though, along with true pines, spruce, fir, cedar, larch, and hemlocks. Trees are confusing. :ROFLMAO:
Well yeah, I meant that it was in the pine family. I guess I should have said "evergreen." And yes, trees are confusing! I'm impressed you can keep it all straight!
 

Jawramik

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Huh that is quite interesting 🤨 Like you said its very confusing but good to know! Anyways... so basically softwood shavings are very similar to kiln dried pine bedding. I suppose it's just a bit different but overall it still contains toxic oils.

I mean my boys seem fine right now. I have them in a 3 story critter nation and the bottom is the only one that has the shavings. Aspen is also more expensive than a big bag of the softwood shavings. At least the all living things and the snake bedding are. If I do decide to switch I'd love to know some other inexpensive brands. Thanks! :)
I'm a big believer in fleece liners as a means of saving money on bedding. Sure, they're more expensive initially (though they're pretty inexpensive if you make your own), but they really do save a ton of money in the long run, since you can just wash and reuse them. I just use aspen shavings for my girl's litterbox, so a small bag of shavings lasts quite a long time. I also find the liners much less messy (since there's no bedding for her to kick out, a lot less mess ends up outside of the cage) and faster/easier to change during cleanings than loose bedding. And I like the way they look (hardly the most important thing, but it's still a perk I enjoy). Of course, some of that is just a matter of personal preference, but if you've never tried liners, you might consider giving them a shot. I initially had my doubts about them, but I quickly became a believer after trying them.

I honestly don't know what the cheapest brand of aspen shavings is. I usually just search online vendors for whatever seems to be the best deal at the time.
 

Amethyst

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Huh that is quite interesting 🤨 Like you said its very confusing but good to know! Anyways... so basically softwood shavings are very similar to kiln dried pine bedding. I suppose it's just a bit different but overall it still contains toxic oils.

I mean my boys seem fine right now. I have them in a 3 story critter nation and the bottom is the only one that has the shavings. Aspen is also more expensive than a big bag of the softwood shavings. At least the all living things and the snake bedding are. If I do decide to switch I'd love to know some other inexpensive brands. Thanks! :)
Since your chin is in a 3 story cage that is likely why they don't have any issues, it's more an issue for animals that live and burrow on into the shavings. Also if you keep the cage clean he likely can just avoid an area until the oil disperses after peeing on it since he doesn't live on the floor of the cage, like a hamster or gerbil does. However if your chin ever gets sick or injured and stays at the bottom of the cage a lot you could end up running into respiratory issues from the oils in the softwood shavings. Looking at the link you give from the company I don't actually see anywhere that it says tulip poplar, it's say "We use 100% kiln dried mixed softwood shavings" which would likely be the pine/spruce/fir mix and "whitewood" which is another name for tulip poplar, but is also used for spruce/pine/fir (those three trees are often harvested and processed together for cheaper "general use" wood. It's cheaper if they don't have to sort them and after processing they look and work pretty much the same for most projects).

Snake bedding is probably the most expensive since it's processed a lot since it needs to have no sharp bits. You aren't going to be able to find aspen for as cheap as softwood, mostly because aspen is a hardwood so it's just a more expensive wood.

Ok so doing a bit of research, apparently what I was told in a different group was not right, or perhaps being over cautious, but it looks like they were assuming douglas fir is a type of fir tree, which again is debatable on safety. It's not though and the phenols (the toxic oils) are found in the outer bark not so much the wood itself, unlike true firs, which is why the bark is not safe. So it looks like douglas fir shavings, assuming it doesn't contain the bark, shouldn't actually contain as much phenols. Here is info I found doing an online search about the shavings, just for info not suggesting buying any specific product.

"This type is typically screened to remove dust and dried in a kiln. Horses tend to favor the aroma of Douglas fir shavings. Soft and comfortable, they also have a low-moisture content. The shavings contain no phenols, which have been known to trigger sneezing and other allergy attacks in horses." The Best & Worst Types of Wood Shavings for Horse Bedding - GI Shavings LLC

"Since GEM shavings come from Douglas Fir there’s a reduced phenol load (as compared to cedar and pine shavings) to lessen respiratory or contact irritation. Cases of phenol reactions have been reported in a wide variety of animals including horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, pigs, and dogs. It is advised that small animals not be bedded in cedar or pine shavings, so these Douglas Fir shavings are a better choice." LIVESTOCK BEDDING | Mysite


That being said though, I personally have never seen douglas fir shavings being recommended for use for chinchillas in any group or site online.
 

Wonderz

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I've been using fleece liners for quite awhile now and I make our own with the anti-pill ones from Walmart. Our chins love it as well lol. The liners are only on the 2nd and 3rd story and on all the shelves (including the bottom) that comes with the critter nation cage, while the shavings are on the very bottom tray.

Mine hardly spend time at the bottom, but they do go down their to use the litter box (which is also filled with shavings) every once in a while. As you said when they pee on it oils will disperse (which I had no idea before)😦

...maybe it is time for a change. If I wouldn't give it to my gerbils, why should I continue giving it to my chins? Especially when chinchillas are more sensitive and it can cause issues down the road. I've also noticed we spend more money on different beddings for my gerbils, so spending money on a bag of aspen is fine with me. Is the living things one okay? It looks like they changed their packaging...
 

Amethyst

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The All Living Things aspen should be fine, the one I like the most is the Living World aspen, it was soft and I didn't notice any dust until the very bottom of the bag. I'm currently using Sunseed aspen, since I needed shavings when everything was shut down (I just use it for the litter pan so it takes me a long time to go through a bag) and that is what I could get locally, and I don't like it, it's dusty and rough pieces, so don't get that brand, lol.

What about kiln-dried pine ledges? Wouldn't it be the same?
No, kiln dried pine boards are fine, the issue is when the wood gets soaked in pee it can re-hydrate it enough to release any left over oils. I don't think I've ever seen a case were the chin peed enough on ledges to cause it to be soaking wet. ;) Boards are also normally sanded smooth, which makes them less absorbent, so pee doesn't normally go too deeply into the wood if the chin has an occasional "accident" on them.
 

Jawramik

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The All Living Things aspen bedding is good, I've used it before.

Kiln-dried pine ledges are also good. In fact, that seems to be the most common wood I see for ledges and other wood accessories. I've got loads of kiln-dried pine ledges in my girl's cage. I recently got a Ferret Nation cage and used a bunch of smaller wood ledges in place of the larger platforms that come with the cage.
 

Wonderz

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Ah okay! Thats good because I really wanted to buy some homemade ledges from my breeder :) I'll definitely will be changing to aspen after this bag (y) Thanks a bunch guys!
 
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